The Revolutionary War came to life this past weekend when The Fair at New Boston, hosted at George Rogers Clark Park, was present.
This year was the 35th anniversary of the fair, and the weekend began with a rush of local school children from around southern Ohio, from as far away as Beavercreek, and as near as Springfield and Tipp City., though it’s still a mystery as to why Tecumseh Local School District doesn’t take part in this invitation-only event each year.
New Boston was once a small village located in proximity to George Rogers Clark Park, near the overpass to Route 4 and was an official location, complete with a post office. Narrowly missing being named the county seat by two votes, the population began to decline and in 1866, by court order, it was absorbed into Springfield. All that may remain of New Boston are three gravesites located within the park.
However, given it’s the location of the Battle of (Old) Piqua, a Shawnee village decimated during the battle, the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association faithfully, and as true to history as possible, hosts the living history display each year, with this year being no exception.
Pam Cottrell, the marketing director for the fair, dressed in full mid-18th century regalia, was directing classes and shared she believed they would have approximately 1,200 students for this special day. She also said, “Today is for kids only, from all over Ohio. They are 4th and 5th graders from Indian Valley, Greenon, Springfield, Beavercreek, oh, all over Southern Ohio. For many of them, the parents haven’t been here before, and it’s new for many of the students, too.”
Though not all vendors were present for Education Day, there were re-enactors aplenty and the children were running amok, thrilled with their day spent in the midst of the Revolutionary War. Some of the vendors present were shoemakers, tailors, and bowmakers. Also, the Kispoko Village, a representation of a typical Eastern Plains Indian tribe, was filled with representatives from a number of people sharing how a village such as this would have operated during the 1700’s. The children were given bow and arrow shooting instruction, they were shown a native hunting ritual, and there were people on hand cooking food as it would have been done long ago.
Aubrey Brownlee, a 4th grade student at L.T. Ball Elementary in Tipp City, OH, shared it was her first time at the fair and she was enjoying it, so far. She said she looked forward to seeing the cannon fire and visiting the ponies and cattle located at one end of the Kispoko Villiage.
Aubrey’s classmate, Daniel Morrison, 9, also of L.T. Ball Elementary, once lived in New Carlisle, but now lives in Tipp City. He said it was also his first time at the fair and he couldn’t decide what he wanted to see more. When asked what he was most looking forward to, he gave a large smile and an excited, “Everything!”
Also in attendance was a student from JFK Elementary in Kettering, OH, Sadé Caldwell, along with her father, Ali, who were both attending the fair for the first time. Mr. Caldwell said, “I’m glad I came out and I’m learning a lot here.” Sadé, though, had a hard time pulling herself away from the grist mill in the Kispoko Village. Her quick response, when asked her thoughts on the fair, was, “I think it’s cool.” However, she also said her favorite part of the event was going inside the teepees and the houses.
In speaking with some of the re-enactors, Andy Goings, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee out of North Carolina, said this was his first time at the fair, but he looked forward to coming back again. He believes what they show the people who attend is important, as it gives him the opportunity to give other people the history of their heritage. He went on to say, “We try to stay period correct with our clothing and headdress, all of which is hand made.” His counterpart, J.D. Banks, also of the Cherokee Nation, shared it was his 15th year as a re-enactor at the fair. His reason for coming back, year after year, was, because he likes it so much. “It’s a good primitive event they keep authentic and real. It’s good for people to see how things were done back then.”
The Fair at New Boston is an annual event at George Rogers Clark Park and is always a premier event enjoyed by all who attend. For more information about the fair, as well as the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, please visit http://www.grcha.org.